A high school basketball tournament on the Northern California coast has become the latest flashpoint in the ongoing protests over police killings of unarmed black men after a school was disinvited because of concerns its players would wear T-shirts printed with the words “I Can’t Breathe” during warmups.
The athletic director for Mendocino High School was informed by his counterpart at Fort Bragg High School this week that neither the boys nor girls teams would be allowed to participate in the three-day tournament hosted by Fort Bragg High starting Monday, Mendocino Unified School District Superintendent Jason Morse said.
The boys were reinstated after all but one player agreed not to wear the shirts inspired by the last words of Eric Garner, the New York man who died after an officer put him in a chokehold, while on the Fort Bragg campus during the Vern Piver Holiday Classic tournament, Morse said. Too few girl players accepted the condition for the team to field a tournament squad, he said. …
Principal Rebecca Walker issued a written statement Friday saying school administrators respected the Mendocino teams “for paying attention to what is going on in the world around them” and that the T-shirts were being prohibited as a security precaution.